A Dorset Police vehicle stands in a field© Phil Yeomans/REX/Shutterstock

Farmers are being urged to complete a major survey examining the effect of crime in the countryside

The National Rural Crime Survey aims to measure the personal, social and economic cost of rural crime and anti-social behaviour across the country.

The last survey took place in 2015, when 13,000 people responded to give their impressions of crime and anti-social behaviour.

Results revealed that the financial cost of rural crime to the country was significant – totaling an estimated £800m every year.

See also: Farm security advice to combat rural crime

The goal of the 2018 survey is to provide a clear picture of what has improved, what challenges remain and what more can be done to combat rural crime.

Questions in the survey cover a range of issues – including whether you report crimes and if you believe enough is done to catch offenders.

Rural challenges

It is being carried out by the National Rural Crime Network.

The organisation brings together Police and Crime Commissioners, police forces and organisations that play a key role in rural communities.

These organisations include the NFU, the Country Land and Business Association, Neighbourhood Watch, Crimestoppers, Historic England and the Countryside Alliance.

Network chair Julia Mulligan said: “I hope that everyone living or working in a rural community will spare a few minutes to complete our survey.

“It will provide a clear picture of what has improved, what challenges remain and what more government, police forces and other organisations can do.”

No soft target

The survey comes as NFU president Minette Batters warned chief constables to ensure farms and rural communities do not become a “soft target” for criminals.

A consistent and co-ordinated approach to rural crime was needed, she said.

“All manner of rural crimes, whether it is hare-coursing, fly-tipping or theft, severely impact farm businesses and rural communities,” added Ms Batters.

“Not only does it have economic consequences but these criminals also bring threats, violence and intimidation to the countryside.”

The rural crime survey is available on the National Rural Crime Network website and is open for submissions until Sunday 10 June.